Tag Archives: Filmmaking

I Love Lists! Girl Power!

8 Mar

Today is International Women’s Day!

In honour of this I wanted to share some of my very favourite films that are directed and/or written by women.

In the world of filmmaking women are massively under represented. In the past 10 years only ONE female has been nominated for an Oscar – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010. That is it! One!

A recent study from the ‘Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film’ looked into the top 250 films of 2015 and found that only 9% of directors and 11% of writers were female.

These statistics are really appalling. There needs to be more women working in the film industry.

Below is a list of 10 wonderful female filmmakers. I find these women and their work continually inspiring, if you haven’t watched these films I urge you to do so! Support women in film!

Ok.. Lets go..

Susanne Bier

One of my all time favourite directors. Her films include ‘After the Wedding’, ‘Brothers’ and very recently on TV ‘The Night Manager’.

 

Jennifer Kent 

Director of The Babadook which is genuinely the scariest film I’ve seen in a very long time. I actually hid under a cover while watching it!

 

Mary Harron

Director of ‘American Psycho’ – a seriously brilliant film. What else can I say – it’s a classic!

 

Miranda July

I love Miranda July, she is a writer, performer and filmmaker – so a real inspiration to me! She wrote, directed and starred in ‘Me and You and Everyone We Know’ and it is a awesome film!

 

Ana Lily Amirpour

Ana Lily Amirpour describes her directorial debut ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ as an “Iranian Vampire Spaghetti Western” Brilliant! It’s a beautifully shot film and it’s black and white which I completely love!

 

Lena Dunham

I adore her early work – her short films and her feature ‘Tiny Furniture’ which she wrote, directed and starred in alongside her mother and sister who played.. her mother and her sister. Also for composition geeks Lena Dunham does the ‘rule of thirds’ beautifully!

 

The Soska Sisters

They are a real inspiration to any female who wants to get into making horror films. As life long fans of the horror genre they started their career as actors but were disheartened by the type of roles they were offered as twins (I can only imagine..) So started making their own films. ‘American Mary’ is fantastic.

 

Amy Sherman-Palladino

Creator and writer of ‘Gilmore Girls’. I love Gilmore Girls and I have watched the whole series over and over and over. It is hilarious and really cleverly shot – the show LOVES a long take!

 

Jennifer leigh 

I saw ‘Chained’ at Fright Fest 2012 and was blown away. It was my film of the festival. I wrote about it here. Watch it, it is awesome.

 

Tamra Davis

‘Crossroads’ is a great, great film. I must have watched it 20 times the year it came out! What can I say I love Britney!!

So that’s my list! Thanks for reading : )

Go watch these films if you haven’t already!

Sheena x

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The Ditch – World Premiere!!!

9 Dec

Sheena and Henry

 

Amazing news!! My short film The Ditch has got its world premiere screening! On 14th January at The Hackney Picturehouse as part of the wonderful London Short Film Festival!!

The Ditch will be screened at an event called ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ alongside other short films which I am very excited to watch!

Full details of the screening are here.

What a brilliant start to 2016 this is going to be!!

x

ditch1

The Ditch is finished!!

14 Jul

The DitchStephen (Producer), Sheena (Director), Lucy (Nina), Henry (Producer)

Yes! You read correctly! My short film The Ditch is finally finished! Look at those smiles! We are all so happy with that news!

Stephen and Henry arranged a lovely cast and crew screening for us at Odeon Covent Garden and it was incredible to watch the film on the big screen! Actually it was a bit emotional…

The Ditch

The Ditch

Stephen said a few words about the long and bumpy road we have been on while making The Ditch. Can you believe that in the end it took us 3 years to make?!

It was a long, long journey for all involved and the film has not ended up as we thought it would in the beginning, but as I said to Stephen the other day; I would not change a thing about the film! We have all put our heart and soul into it and I am so, so proud of everyone and of the finished product.

The DitchPhoto by Lee Guilliland

We are now submitting The Ditch to film festivals worldwide… It’s a nerve-racking time!! Please keep your fingers crossed for us!

Sheena x

Odeon Covent Garden

Photo by Lee Guilliland

The Ditch… (take 2)

16 May

The Ditch poster

Next weekend I am making a film! It is the postponed and rescheduled shoot of my short horror film The Ditch.

We shot the first half of the film in a forest in Dorking in September 2012. Directing a horror film was literally a dream come true for me and I wrote about it here.

The Ditch

After our first lot of shooting we ran a crowdfunding campaign and thanks to lots of truly amazing people we reached our goal!

So we were all set for our second half of shooting which was scheduled for September 2013 – the film is set in a forest so we had to shoot at the same time each year so that the leaves looked the same… Unfortunately in the week before the shoot we had to cancel because of really bad weather… I wrote about how completely gutted I was about that here.

However! I am a firm believer that sometimes things really do happen for a reason. And our shoot getting cancelled in September gave me a lot of time to really think about the story, where it was going and what it was saying…

I had two choices :

1. Wait until the following September and shoot the rest of the film – but plan a contingency shoot weekend incase the weather was terrible again.

2. Rewrite the script and set it in a location not weather dependent.

I chose 2. I felt really frustrated that an entire year had gone by and we still hadn’t finished the film. I did not want to find myself in that position again and I really didn’t want to have to wait another year..

Me and The Ditch

We shot a lot of the really key moments of The Ditch in the first shoot, so I could really see how this footage could be worked into a new script as kind of ‘flashback’ sequences. For me The Ditch is about guilt, consequences and what if’s.. I discovered that the feelings and themes I wanted to evoke in an audience could happen within a story set in a forest or could happen equally well in a story set in a hotel room..

So thats what I did. I set the film in a hotel room. And I am insanely proud of the script and excited to direct it and see it coming to life in front of my eyes next weekend!

Sheena Holliday, Director

 

 

I Love Lists! (5 awesome screenwriting blog posts)

9 May

Writing!

Recently I have been doing a lot of writing – finishing off drafts of my short horror film The Ditch (shooting in a couple of weeks!!) And also working on a new project- an art aouse/thriller feature..

As part of my writing process I will often do a lot of reading too – I love reading the blogs of other writers to get tips and insight!

So I thought I would share 5 awesome screenwriting blog posts that have inspired me this week!

* 10 writing tips from Joss Whedon

* 25 screenwriting tips from David Bowie! Totally awesome!

* Scripts are all about emotions not words…

* How to write a killer script from the fabulous Jane Goldman

* And finally, I refer to this post over and over again, I love James Moran!

Happy reading! : )

x

Pedro loves Summer!

2 May

Napoleon Dynamite cake

It wasn’t easy to decide what cake to bake for Studio Cake Saturdays on my week.. I did feel the pressure to come up with something great since I had chosen the theme! But I wanted something a bit obscure as well (naturally).

And then it came to me! The cake Pedro makes for Summer in ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ – Awesome!!

I love ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ it is just so funny! My absolute favourite bit is when Napoleon does a skit instead of Pedro – me and my friend once learned that entire dance intending to request the Jamiroquoi song while out that night and wow people in the club. Ha ha.

Cake mix

The base of the cake was a plain vanilla sponge, I used a recipe from my Grandma Joyce, it’s the one I always follow when making this kind of cake. I made a chocolate version of this cake for the last Studio Cake Saturdays.

Ingredients:

8 oz self raising flour

8 oz caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 oz margarine

2 eggs beaten with 5 tablespoons of evaporated milk and 5 tablespoons of water

Few drops of vanilla essence.

Sieve flour, sugar, salt and cocoa. Rub in margarine. Stir in eggs, essence and liquid  beat well and bake at 180 C.

My baking tricks for this cake are:

* Sieve the flour 3 times!

* Add the liquid VERY slowly! Add a bit then stir, add a bit then stir etc

* Replace the evaporated milk with regular milk – simply because I didn’t have any! Regular milk works fine.

 

The Beautiful Sophie

 photo by Dan Farrell

For the filling I used a trick of my mums – slice the cake into 3 and then spread jam on one layer and butter cream on the other – this makes the cake incredibly moist and extra delicious! Thanks Linda!

I was SO proud of the way this cake was looking, I’d done that piped icing thing around the edge of the cake and it looked ace! But then I had to write on it in red and it all went wrong!!

I made my red icing rather than buy it and I just didn’t make it thick enough, so when it got on the cake it ran.. ‘Pedro’ looks OK but ‘Summer’ was a big fail! And I was SO disappointed!! (And a little bit grumpy)

Napoleon Dynamite cake

photo by Dan Farrell

However, I realised that I have to allow myself a bit more time for the next cake I decorate, and make the writing icing very thick, so if I was to do it again I would definitely end up with a better design – so it’s been a big learning process, which is totally fine. And there were no actual tears ; )

I was very happy with how it tasted anyway so that’s the main thing!

Much love x

I Love Lists! (The last 10 films I’ve watched)

25 Apr

I have recently been inspired by reading film review posts by Robin, a young person who is part of the filmmaking workshops I run for Studio Film School. He has started doing a monthly round up of the films he has watched and they are great fun! (Check out January, February and March – seriously do it – he’s a great writer!)

So I decided I wanted to write about the films I’ve watched too! So here goes…

 Batman poster

1. Batman

Unbelievably I have never watched this film until recently. Dan R decided to rectify that and lent me the dvd – and I LOVED it!! It’s a Tim Burton film for goodness sake! I just love how it balances real sinister darkness with cartoon comic book silliness. Jack Nicholson is brilliant as the Joker. Awesome stuff. I’m sure everyone in the world has already watched this film but if not do so NOW!

Batman Returns poster

2. Batman Returns

Then of course I immediately wanted to watch the sequel! Controversially I might like this one better than the first – I love the darkness and the opening was very Tim Burton. I love all the evil circus people, and Danny DeVito is amazing as the Penguin – I think it’s appalling that he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for that role! He was so, so good!

Remember Me poster

3. Remember me

This came through on Love Film and I can’t remember why I put it on my list – I’m not at all interested in Robert Pattinson! It was quite a good film but the characters were SO brooding and miserable!! Gah!! It also had Pierce Brosnan in it – weird casting. I didn’t enjoy the ending at all – it turned into a terrible disaster that had happened in real life – and to me it just felt tagged on the end, and a lazy way to get emotion from the audience.

Phenomenon poster

4. Phenomenon

Watched this when I was at home for Easter. I love John Travolta! I think he’s my favourite male-person ever! This film was a lot better than I thought it was going to be – it was actually a really sweet and sad story.

Psycho

5. Psycho

I’ve been re watching some Hitchcock films as inspiration for the short horror film I’m shooting in a month. Wanted to immerse myself in ‘The Master of Suspense’

Rear Window poster

6. Rear Window

This film is so tense and suspenseful that I almost can’t take it!!

Mega Piranha poster

7. Mega Piranha

I’m going through a monster movie phase at the moment. And it turns out that I really like BAD monster movies!! Mega Piranha is TERRIBLE! The acting, the characters, the storyline, the CGI all AWFUL!! And I don’t think the filmmakers remembered to do a sound mix because it is up and down throughout the whole film.. But I loved watching it!! It’s definitely so bad it’s good! And it’s got Tiffany in it from the 80’s…

Troll 2 poster

8. Troll 2

WATCH THIS FILM!!! Just watch it.

Godzilla poster

9. Godzilla

The original and the best.

Octopus 2 poster

10. Octopus 2

This got slated in reviews but I actually really like this film. The premise is ludicrous but I still think it’s pretty good. Also it has some really great views of New York.

Sheena x

 

All images from imdb